One – Three Dog Night | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#5); 1969

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Ireland-born Danny Hutton had already voiced some animated characters and recorded solo singles when Cory Wells, lead singer for the Whiskey-A-G-Go house band, proposed they team up. Hutton refused. Eventually he reconsidered. Hutton and Wells next auditioned mutual friend Chuck Negron. The three vocalists then recruited four musicians, and named the gang of seven “Three Dog Night,” after the Australian term for an Outback night so cold you needed three canine sleeping companions to keep from freezing. The septet’s first single release, Try A Little Tenderness, reached #29 in the spring of 1969. The second, One, had been written, recorded, and released by Nilsson in 1968- but didn’t chart – just before his breakthrough Everybody’s Talkin’ single. TDN’s version fared better; becoming their first (of 18) Top 20 hit. Trivia fans note: Hutton was one of the aspiring musician-actors who auditioned for a part in the Monkees‘ television show.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Gabriel Mekler

Lyrics Written by:

  • Harry Nilsson